A Beginner's Guide to Choosing Your Signature Fragrance

An expert maps the route to finding your signature scent

A signature scent is what stays behind, lingers in people’s memory of you, long after you have met them. But the question is how do you arrive at that point. Walking down the perfume aisle in a mall or a store can be quite overwhelming and confusing. With myriad fragrances vying for attention, which one do you pick or how do you figure which one you like? It isn’t an easy task, so we got Astha Suri, Founder and Creative Director, Naso Profumi, an indigenous perfume brand that makes scents to suit the Indian climate and skin, to map the journey to finding our signature scent. 

Astha explains, “The mystery of the unknown yet the familiarity of where you belong come into play when choosing a scent. The olfactory senses activate even before birth, the smell of your mother and the surroundings hold a lifelong nostalgia. We all come to perfume from various backgrounds, pasts and perspectives, developing a perfume profile is driven by these myriad experiences. With the power to affect our mood, feelings and sensuality scent builds into a powerful story that can affect our emotions.” Given below are few points that will help you make the right decision. 

1.Understand the fragrance notes 

Before you pick a scent, you need to understand the composition of a perfume. Here we decode it for you.

Top notes: This is the first whiff of smell that you get when you spray a perfume. These notes are usually light.

Middle notes: Once the top notes fade away, you can smell the middle notes or the heart of a fragrance. This usually forms the main character of a scent. Common middle notes usually include either floral, citrusy or spicy smells.

Base notes: This is the longest that lasts on your skin, even after the middle notes disappear.  Often woods, moss and musk comprise base notes.

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2. You need to understand what works for you

Before choosing a scent you need to understand what do you want it to do. “Zesty Ingredients like mandarin, cedar wood, red rose attar, lemon or vetiver scents will make you energetic and invoke joy while musk, amber extracts and saffron will ease your mind,” says Astha. So maybe you would want one in the former category as a daywear and something in the latter for the evenings. You also need to analyse your feelings when you wear a particular scent. Does it give you a headache or does it make you feel good or sensuous or puts you in the mood you want to feel? The answers will help you narrow down your choices. 

3. Be patient

Once you makeup your mind about the purpose you need it for, you really need to figure which scent you like, but this will take time. You need to be patient. Try three scents at a time when you visit a perfume store. Only three, So that you don’t overwork your olfactory senses. Also, give each perfume proper time to grow on you.

“The perfume you choose to wear should always be supported by a thick underlay of a strong base note, this will make the blend last longer on your skin. You need to bear in mind that the temperature here can spike to almost 50 degrees and along with that you need to pay attention to find the notes and aromas that smell great on your skin. These things will help you narrow down the ingredients you want in your scent,” advises Astha.

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4. Check how a particular scent smells on you 

Take a sample of a fragrance you like more than others and test it on yourself. The same fragrance can smell different on two people as your body chemistry affects how a fragrance smells. While spraying a perfume you need to keep a few things in mind says Astha. “One has to monitor the amount you spray on yourself so you don't end up overwhelming your surroundings. Day spraying should always be humbler than night spraying. We use different pressure points in the day such as—our wrist, back of our ear, back of our neck, front of the arm pit (never inside). Also, never rub your wrist with each other, as it heats the molecules of the smell and that doesn’t let the smell mature well,” she adds.

5. Take the rebound route

If you still can’t makeup your mind about which ones you like, then trust your instincts. If you keep returning to a particular scent and like it, then there’s something about the fragrance that is drawing you in. Request a sample of that perfume and use it for a few days before buying it. 

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